An old niche revisited for Ford in the UK. Based on the Ford Transit chassis cab, the new ambulance body and conversion will be built wholly in the UK by Venari Group

An old niche revisited for Ford in the UK. Based on the Ford Transit chassis cab, the new ambulance body and conversion will be built wholly in the UK by Venari Group

Ford has announced plans to re-establish its presence in the UK ambulance market, with a new Transit ambulance developed in conjunction with industry experts and front-line medical teams under the code name Project Siren.

Scheduled to enter production in mid-2021, Ford says the new vehicle's lightweight design is fully compliant with the national specification advocated by the Lord Carter Report, offering all the equipment and capability of a front-line ambulance within a 3.5-tonne gross vehicle weight. Based on the Ford Transit chassis cab, the body and conversion will be built wholly in the UK by Venari Group – parent company of the UK's leading ambulance manufacturer, O&H Vehicle Technology.

"Our exciting new lightweight ambulance is the result of listening to our customers, understanding their needs and finding innovative solutions to meet them," said Dr Graham Hoare OBE, executive director, Business Transformation, and chairman, Ford of Britain. "By collaborating with blue-light experts Venari Group for Project Siren, I'm confident that this new vehicle will redefine the blueprint for ambulances and help to transform the productivity of front line ambulance services in the UK."

Project Siren used what is described as an agile, collaborative process and direct customer input from NHS Ambulance Trusts to create the new vehicle, which is designed to improve patient treatment as well as safety and ease of use for paramedics. Advanced digital connectivity supports efficient restocking and vehicle maintenance, while the lightweight design helps reduce emissions and operating costs associated with using heavier vehicles.

"We're delighted to have teamed up with Ford in the development of our 3.5-tonne ambulance, which will provide a step change in design for our incredible emergency services," said Oliver North, CEO, Venari Group. "Harnessing the capabilities of Venari and Ford has created an engineering team that is – in my 15-year experience in emergency service vehicle production – the most formidable of its type, meeting the complex requirements of the Carter Report with zero compromise on quality."

The vehicle's launch will follow detailed testing and validation at Ford's advanced proving facilities. The new lightweight design has been developed to be fully compatible with all-electric powertrains, providing a future-proof solution for ambulance operators looking to transition to zero-emission fleets.